In my younger years, by this time on this day I’d be on my 4th Black and Tan, dancing away to some Irish ditty at any of the many Austin celebrations of this popular holiday. Today, however, I am feeling my age… I decided to stay in and attempt to be productive instead of drunk. How things change…
On such a beautiful day, Pickles had been itching to go outside and roll in the fresh grass, and the garden looked like it needed a little love. So I went out there and inspected the troops. Found good and bad news, as is usual in the garden.The bad news is that the potatoes I seeded on Feb 28th have not sprouted. Suspect rot or Pickle activities. She has also learned to dig out and eat the carrots, the little thief!
The much anticipated cauliflower went nowhere. I planted three recommended varieties: ‘Cheddar’, ‘Chef’s Choice’, and ‘All Year Round.’ Cheddar went leggy and bolted before the head was the size of a silver dollar. Chef’s Choice made an odd looking, scattered head with greenish hue. All Year Round hasn’t done anything yet.
But with my penchant of wasting-not-wanting-not, I am turning these ugly failures into a soup for tonight. I found a recipe online which I am adapting to0 use what I have on hand, as always. It follows:
Cauliflower and rice soup
2 odd shaped, weird looking cauliflowers (see pictures)
1 cup leftover cheese risotto
1 1/2 quarts both or water
1 tablespoon chicken fat
1/4 cup freshly grated cotija cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the cauliflower florets and tender stalk, leaving some leaves if desired. Heat the fat in a saucepan and gently sauté the florets until golden, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a bit of broth, cover, and simmer them for about 10 minutes more. Bring the rest of the broth to a boil, add the cauliflower and cook over a gentle flame until cauliflower is very tender. Add the risotto and cook until almost dissolved. Blend in batches and then return it to the pot to make the soup thicker. Garnish with cotija cheese and chopped parsley. What the heck.
I also picked a few carrots and baby French Breakfast radishes. These tiny jewels will be braised whole, leaves and all. I have discovered that carrot greens are not only edible but quite tasty, too. I have added handfuls to a pot of mustard and kale greens, and tender sprigs to an arugula salad. I also made a carrot green soup which turned out delicious. They are actually quite nutritious, as is to be expected. All these dishes will be features tonight, I think. The mustard and arugula are bolting, loaded with snails, and aphids are moving in. I will cook some, then think I will leave the last few plants as “decoys” to keep the nasty snails away from the kale, which is still looking marvelous. The “Tuscan” variety is a winner.
Planning on planting the tomatoes this weekend, unless forecast temps in the 40s delay my early planting. I usually plant St. Patrick’s Day week, so we’ll see. Hopefully Willy will show up soon, 6-pack of Guinness in hand, so we can toast the Irish while we pogo to The Pogues while dinner cooks. That way I won’t feel so old, I hope.